Sunday, 18 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #18: P is for Plant Crush (Blog)

Today I have another round up of some blog food to share with you. I love the recipes on Plant Crush - beautiful photos, lovely food, and a heft dose of five spice (my favourite spice blend). I've already posted a couple of recipes from this blog in some of my Midweek Munchies posts, and you can see those posts here, but for MoFo I made three all new to me recipes. I have a bunch more saved that I want to make as well, so be sure to look for them in the future! In the meantime, let's get hungry thinking about these recipes I already made.

Vegan Chinese Five Spice Beef Stir-Fry: This caught my eye because... five spice! Also because Ann uses dried TVP beef slices in the recipe, and I love them. They are my favourite to use for any sort of beefy stir-fry recipe. I was just serving two people, so I halved the recipe, but in retrospect you want leftovers because it is delicious. I marinated my strips (using boiling water for the stock) for about four hours, to let lots of flavour sink in. Once marinated, you just tip them into a pan to simmer off the extra liquid. I needed to vigorously simmer for about ten minutes before all of mine had soaked in. I served this as suggested, with some steamed rice and some fresh cucumber. It was amazing. My omni dad loved it too.

Vegan Chinese Five-Spice Beef Stir-Fry

Shredded Tofu and Mushroom Banh Mi: I was late to the banh mi game, but I have since come to love them a lot. This is a fantastic one! It is pretty simple to make, the main component being the shredded mushrooms for the filling. I used portobello mushrooms, and tried shredding them with a fork but immediately stabbed myself so just shredded them with my hands. The tofu is dry fried, and Ann gives a simple guideline for making a fabulous paprika mayo (just mayo, smoked paprika, and garlic powder). I made some pickled carrots quickly using this recipe (from the Viet Vegan blog, and leaving out the daikon because I didn't have any). I made a half recipe of filling because I was serving two, and served it on the crusty Vietnamese rolls you can get fresh from Coles.

Shredded Mushroom & Tofu Banh Mi

Bulgogi Fusion Tacos: This was the perfect chance to use up the rest of my packed of TVP beef slices. I only had enough of them left to make 1/4 of the recipe, which was the perfect amount for two of us. I soaked my TVP strips in some beef-style stock for added flavour. For the marinade, instead of using actual onion and garlic I used powdered, and added a few TBS of the leftover beef stock soaking water for liquid. I chopped up the beef strips a bit to be smaller to fit in my little tortillas better (I used mini ones). The filling also has onion and mushrooms in it, as well as the beef strips and marinade/ The recipe also includes some quick pickled radishes and cabbage, which were amazing. Once everything was ready to go, I served it with some baby spinach leaves, filling, and pickles, and they were wonderful. I had some leftover filling, which I took to work for leftovers with some rice and spinach for a quick bowl.

Vegan Bulgogi Fusion Tacos

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

At the end of last year we got a new sofa, and where was a while where we were all sitting on camping chairs between the old sofa going and the new one coming. Because the camping chairs were really saggy, I put Dim Sim's bed on one of the chairs to provide some support for me to sit on. Of course, she hadn't even looked at this bed in ages, but as soon as I was using it she had to perch awkwardly on it for a little while to remind us that it is hers even if she doesn't want to use it. She is glad we have the new sofa now!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #17: O is for Overnight Oats

I love overnight oats. They are simple, have a lot of flavour options, and (as long as you make an appropriate amount) a filling start to the day! I love experimenting with different types, and always keen to try a recipe! Here are a few I've made from blogs, from magazines, and from my own brain. A few basic guidelines that I like to follow for overnight oats. I have found that a recipe based on 1/2 cup of oats seems to be an adequate serving size for me, though I can go up to 1 cup! I also like to add a TBS of chia seeds, because I find that helps fill me up a bit more. I rarely add sweetener, or if a recipe calls for it I'll add a lot less.

First up, these Ginger Chocolate Overnight Oats from the blog A Virtual Vegan. I love ginger, and this had a lovely gingery burn. It uses ground dried ginger, so very pantry friendly, but you could add some fresh as well. One serving of the recipe made an OK breakfast size for me. I topped them with blueberries, slivered almonds, and pepitas.

Ginger Chocolate Overnight Oats

I found a recipe for Peanut Butter & Raspberry Overnight Oats in a Coles magazine. These are a bit more involved, as you need to make a quick raspberry puree by simmering and then blending frozen raspberries and sugar, but you could just as easily use jam. And in fact I would have preferred strawberry jam in it. The recipe has mashed bananas and peanut butter in the oats, but it needs a lot more peanut butter. I made a half batch to get one decent breakfast. I topped it with fresh raspberries, pepitas, maple hemp seeds, and a drizzle of peanut butter.

PB & Raspberry Overnight Oats from Coles Magazine

Speaking of peanut butter, I made these straight up Peanut Butter Overnight Oats from The Minimalist Baker blog. The recipe made one decent serving, and I topped it with blueberries, pepitas, and crushed peanuts. This was very peanut buttery and filling! Basically similar to the oats I make from my brain if I'm not using a recipe.

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

This chocolate hazelnut cranberry combination was inspired by a recipe I saw on Instagram. That recipe used hazelnut butter, which is expensive, I used some chocolate hazelnut milk instead to soak my oats. I also soaked some dried cranberries in it overnight, and they got nice and plump! The tangy cranberries were good and offsetting the sweetness from the milk. I topped with some fresh raspberries, flaked almonds, and pepitas.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Overnight Oats

And this is just the basic peanut butter overnight oats that I make from my brain at home. Oats, chia seeds, oat milk, and peanut butter soaked overnight and topped with raspberries, pepitas, and almonds.

PB overnight oats with pepitas and raspberries

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Sahara was saying: 'I know this isn't my bed, but what will you do about it? Really, all beds are my beds.'

Friday, 16 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #16: N is for Netherworld (Eating Out)

I've been to Netherworld only a handful of times, but I am always keen to get back there for more. Arcade games, board games, a default vegan menu (though I always still specify vegan as they do have swaps for omnivore), and a bar (if that is your thing, I am not a drinker), Netherworld is a lot of fun. Thankfully I had a chance to get back there just last week, which is good because they change the menu semi-regularly, so if you want to try something you should go while you know it is on the menu! You can see my previous visits here.

While we were waiting for our food, we played a couple of rounds of the Jurassic Park pinball machine. I have recently rediscovered my love of Jurassic Park/World and all things dino, so I was super excited to see it there and be able to play it. I sucked so bad, it is really hard! But once I got the T Rex to eat the ball, and that was super thrilling!

Jurassic Park Pinball at Netherworld

OK, so time for food. One of my friends got the Burgatory with a side of fries. The Burgatory has been a fixture on the menu since day one (I think), so this seems to not be going anywhere. It is their version of a cheeseburger (burger, cheese, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, pickles), but it also has onion rings. Their fries are also seasoned with nacho seasoning.

Burgatory with Fries at Netherworld

I got a serve of Kracken Critters to share, which are salt and pepper tofu bites served with tartare sauce. These were delicious, but quite filling!

Kracken Kritters at Netherworld

They have revamped their Mac and Cheese. It used to be made with udon noodles, and a too spicy for my sriracha cheese sauce. They have since changed it to regular macaroni and a non-spicy sauce. My friend ordered this, and I tried a little bit. It was good, though the tomato sauce had quite a strong tomato flavour to it. She also had a side of Caesar Salad with it. You can also get the Caesar Salad as a main, but I love that they have it as a side as well!

Mac and Cheese with a side of Caesar Salad at Netherworld

As for me, I ordered the Wampus Pizza Waffle with a side of Caesar Salad. The is a potato gem (aka tater tot) waffle topped with pizza sauce, mushrooms, olives, capers, cheese, and rocket. It was amazing! But so big and filling, especially after the tofu bites! I also loved the salad, which has lettuce, garlic croutons, fried capers, shaved parmesan, Tofurky ham slices, shredded vegan chicken and Caesar dressing. I didn't notice an shredded chicken though, so I wonder if that is only if you get it in the main dish serving. It would be great as a main as well!

Wampus Pizza Waffle with Caesar Salad side at Netherworld

Finally, some dessert. Well, I only tried a tiny bit. It is the Ekka at the moment, which is an agricultural show (yes, with all that means, sadness) in the city. Strawberries and Cream is one of the traditional Ekka foods, and Netherworld had a special Ekka menu. This was the Strawberry Sundae Waffle, with waffle, ice cream (coconut based), strawberry syrup, and fresh strawberries. I tried a bit of the waffle itself, but I wasn't a fan. I did like the strawberry syrup though, and of course the strawberries.

Ekka Strawberry Sundae Waffles at Netherworld

And now, for a little food bonus! That morning, I saw that some friends on Facebook has responded to a vegan event at a cafe that was only six minutes walk from Netherworld. I had never heard of this place before, which is called The Pick Up Joint. They were selling vegan baked treats for a Chihuahuha rescue. So it seemed like fate. We popped around there while we were waiting for Netherworld to open, and picked up a few treats. I got a chocolate custard tart (which was my dinner because I was still too full from Netherworld to even think of cooking and eating an actual meal), and a vegan sticky bun (which was my breakfast the next day).

Sticky Bun and Chocolate Custard Tart from The Pick Up Joint

Netherworld - 186 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley

The Pick Up Joint - 97 Kennigo Street, Fortitude Valley

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Possum in bed

Our sweet family boy Possum was also not one for cat beds, but he still liked to snuggle on and in human beds! Here he is when he was a young man, tucked under a doona cover.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #15: M is for Mother's Day

As I've mentioned, I always make special dinners for my parents on special days. Sometimes, like with the post a shared a few days ago about my dad's birthday, it might all be a menu from the one book. Other times, like for Mother's Day this year, the recipes come from different books. Sometimes there are a lot of components, sometimes it is a couple of recipes. That's where this year's Mother's Day fell into. A delicious meal-sized salad, and a decadent dessert.

Banh Mi Panzanella Salad from Vegan Bowl Attack by Jackie Sobon: My mun loves big salads, and one of her favourites is a banh mi salad, so when I saw this I was super excited to make it for her. Rather than tofu, the salad is topped with oyster mushrooms that have been tossed in a coating and baked. The salad itself is full of greens (instead of kale and wombok, I used baby cos and baby spinach), herbs, and toasted cubes of bread. Topped with the mushrooms and some quick-pickled veggies (I made half a batch of these), then smothered in a hoisin-based dressing. So yum!
Rating: :)

Banh Mi Panzanella Salad

Peanut Butter S'Mores Dip from Vegan Yack Attack On The Go by Jackie Sobon: Different books, but same author. This dessert is incredibly rich, so it was good to have a lighter main meal first! I scaled the recipe down to serve three, and baked it in a little square casserole rather than cast iron. Chocolate chips and peanut butter melt together, covered in marshmallows that go all toasty in the oven. I packed my marshmallows a bit too close, so they look a bit funny, but the taste is all that matters. Sprinkled with some crushed roasted peanuts, and then served with graham crackers for dipping. Except we don't have graham crackers here, so I served it with Digestive biscuits, which are my usual substitution.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter S'Mores Dip

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in the bed

Sahara, sleeping in Gizmo's bed. She loved to steal it from Gizmo when she could. After Gizmo passed away, it became her bed. She would have the sweetest dreams in it.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #14: L is for Lazy Cat Kitchen (Blog)

Continuing my efforts to try and make more food from blogs, rather than only cookbooks, I recently came across Lazy Cat Kitchen. Of course, put 'cat' in the title and I will be intrigued (yes, they have a kitty), plus the cute little cat icon in the corner of the open tab, plus lots and lots of gorgeous looking recipes... I bookmarked a lot of stuff. There are a lot of Japanese-style recipes on the blog, which greatly appeal to me. So, true to my word, I have made some of it!

Miso Mushroom Bowl: This was what first caught my eye, I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it. And you should too. Shiitake mushrooms are sliced, covered in a delicious miso glaze, and then baked. This was my first recipe that used the stems, and they were so good after baking. Chewy and delicious. And the flavour... so good. The recipe also makes a quick pickled radish, which is a lovely flavour contrast. Served with rice and greens. This is a must make dish.

Miso Mushroom Bowl

Vegan Yakisoba: This is a super fast dinner to get together. First you make a quick yakisoba sauce, full of delicious ingredients like mushroom sauce, ketchup (an option given instead of sriracha), and seaweed powder (I didn't have nori powder, so I used dulse powder. Then pan-sear your veggies (I used the ones the recipe suggested except I used more carrot instead of the capsicum), add your cooked noodles, and mix with the sauce. The only change I'd make would be to double the sauce, as it cooks down fast and I wanted more of it!

Vegan Yakisoba

Tofu Dengaku Bowl: I love eggplant dengaku, and the only way I can think of making it better is to take the delicious sauce and put it on my beloved tofu. I used a 250g block of tofu, rather that 200, so I cut my slices of tofu a little bigger. The glaze is very simple to put together, I left out the chili paste so mine is not the same colour as the photo on the blog, but it was super delicious. Served with pan-seared broccoli and Japanese rice. With extra sauce drizzled on top, and pickled ginger. Yes please.

Tofu Dengaku Bowl

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo in her bed

Sometimes, when one is gifted a new bed, one must spend some time thinking about it before settling down. Gizmo when I first put her in the new bed on her 15th birthday. She didn't think for long before she decided it was A-OK. True story about how sweet she was but how much she also loved this bed. She would be on the bed with me when I was going to sleep, then would quietly take herself to her bed for the rest of the night, but she would come back before my alarm went off, so I could wake up with her. How darling is that? Of course, sometimes she would be my alarm, and that occasionally involved licking my closed eyelids. That was less darling - ouch! But you can't be mad at that sweet face.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #13: K is for Kansha (Recipe Round-Up)

I love Japanese food, and while there are several great options for eating out (see my post for day 11 of MoFo) it is nice to make things at home as well. So I was very excited when I received a copy of Kansha. It is a beautiful book, with lots of very traditional recipes, but it is not the most accessible book in terms of ingredients or techniques, so it just lurked on my shelves and I'd pull it out every now and then to look at it. But eventually I decided that, even if I can't make everything, I can still make somethings! Thankfully I have a Japanese grocery store not that far away from me, because honestly I would struggle finding ingredients without it (and even with it there are lots of things I just can't get). But anyway, here are some things I made!

Soy-Braised Kabocha and Wheat Wheels, Rice Tossed with Radish Greens, and Sweet, Spicy, and Tart Sun-Dried Radish: This meal definitely required some special ingredients. First up, the kuruma-bu, or wheat wheels, which are dried 'wheels' of gluten. I made them a bit too squishy because I followed the instructions on the packet rather than the instructions in the book because I got very confused. As a result, the braising liquid didn't fully absorb into them. It also has kabocha and green beans. This is served at room temperature to allow the flavours to meld, but I would have preferred it warmer (the recipe does say you can zap in the microwave to heat it up. The main liquid part of the braising liquid is a Sun-Dried Radish Stock, which was very easy to make but again needed special kiriboshi daikon also from the Japanese shop. This was served with Japanese rice tossed with homemade furikake. To make the furikake (dehydrated greens), you can yse daikon tops, turnip tops, kale, collards, or beet greens. I used kale, and I made a half batch of it. The kale is blanched, blotted, finely blotted, and baked. Once cooked and cooled, they are mixed through cooked sushi rice. The final part of this dinner was the pickled sun-dried radishes. These used the kiriboshi daikon that was leftover from making the stock, so it was a good way to not have any waste leftover (this book is big on using up everything you can). I didn't have any yellow colouring to add to them, so they are just natural beige colour, but that is fine by me as the taste was not affected. I left these in the fridge for 8 hours before serving, and the flavour was great afterwards.
Rating: Braise :), Stock :), Rice :), Pickles :)

Soy-Braised Kabocha and Wheat Wheels; Rice Tossed with Radish Greens; Sweet, Spicy, and Tart Sun-Dried Radish

Two Kinds of Tofu, Amber Braised with Carrots and Rice Tossed with Radish Greens: This recipe calls for grilled tofu and thick fried tofu. The Japanese grocery store sells both kinds, but they didn't have any grilled when I was there. So I bought a block of firm fresh tofu and followed some simple instructions online to make it grilled. The recipe calls for blanching the tofu, but I didn't bother doing that with the grilled tofu. This is a lovely braising sauce, based on kelp stock (I only needed 1 cup rather than the full one and a half cups) with a few simple things added. I served this with some leftovers of the rice and greens I mentioned above.
Rating: :)

Two Kinds of Tofu, Amber Braised with Carrots; Rice Tossed with Radish Greens

Mixed Vegetables Braised with Thick Fried Tofu: This stew has shiitake, fried tofu, burdock (I used parsnip as an alternative), carrots, edamame, and konnyaku (which I got from the Japanese shop, but is also found in most Asian grocery stores these days). The konnyaku is kind of squidgy and a bit fishy, you could leave it out if you are not a fan or can't find it. I served this over some plain Japanese rice.
Rating: :)

Mixed Vegetables Braised with Thick Fried Tofu

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the wheelbarrow bed

Dim Sim decided to try out the wheelbarrow bed exactly once. She seemed comfortable enough in it, but once was enough for her. You can see how tiny she is!

Monday, 12 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #12: J is for Just Add...

My friend Leigh, vegan cookbook author and awesome person, recently started selling a range of vegan products called Just Add.... These are dry mixes that just need a few simple additions to whip up easy vegan meats and sauces. I was lucky enough to test these products for her. You can see the current range of products available here. And here are some photos of when I tested for them!

The Hollandaise sauce is beautifully tangy and creamy. My mum is an omni and is a hollandaise sauce eating expert, and she gave this her tick of approval! You can use this sauce for all sorts of things. Here I have served it over some tofu scramble. (I tested the tofu scramble mix as well, though this is not currently available in the product range.)

Just Add... Hollandaise Sauce on tofu scramble

The Palmesan is a cheesy, salty, tangy topping for anything you like! Here it is gracing some bolognese.

Just Add.. Palmesan

The ham is a super easy seitan mix. Leigh uses beet powder in it, so the mix is beautiful and pink! There are a couple of options once you have steamed it, you can use it as is or glaze it and bake it. I took the latter (with some gold mustard, which is why it sparkles). I served it with mash, greens, and gravy, chopped it for pizza, and sliced it for sandwiches. So versatile!

Just Add... Ham

The burger mix has two components, a TVP one and then the rest of the mix. It makes for a meaty burger with a good texture. I just made a simple cheeseburger with mine.

Just Add... Burger

There are two other products available currently that I have not tried. One is the pepperoni, which I have not tested due to spice reasons. The other is the hot dogs, which I fully intend to make I just haven't quite had the chance yet.

A couple of other products I want to mention... first the Garlic & Herb Cutlets. They are currently undergoing some changes, which is why they are not available at the moment, but they were amazing when I tested them and will hopefully be back soon!

Just Add... Herb & Garlic Cutlet

And there are a few other products that were tested that haven't been put in the range yet. By far my favourite of everything was the Cheesecake mix. A base mix (which would also make an awesome crumble) and a delicious cheesecake filling mix (just add silken tofu). I was in love with this, and really hope it makes an appearance in the permanent range eventually so I can eat it all the time!

Just Add... Cheesecake

If you are in Australia, support a local vegan business and order some products! You can also follow on Instagram to see some of the local markets in Sydney and Melbourne that Just Add will be attending if you want to buy and meet Leigh in person!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in her wheelbarrow

One of Sahara's favourite beds was her wheelbarrow bed out in the catmax. A comfy pillow covered by a towel, nice fresh air, she loved it. Look how relaxed she is here.